Back Pocket Memory will be performing Sept. 11 at El Corazon
A lot went into writing your favorite song, but how much do you really know about it? This week Chris Pennington, vocalist of Burbank rock band Back Pocket Memory, delves into revenge, mid-show guitar transitions and playing for 200 people in Hollywood.
Back Pocket Memory will be performing Sept. 11 at El Corazon
Song: "What Have You Done"
Album: Back Pocket Memory
Release Date: September 4, 2012
When it was written: The song was written over the course of six months, but really worked on it in December '11 and April '12.
Where it was written: In our rehearsal studio and our producer's studio.
Favorite line in the song: I know it seems a bit expected, but my favorite line in the song happens to be the chorus. "Clear the wreckage what have you done here? Felt the need to retaliate just to prove that no one should defy you." The reason why I enjoy this line the most is because it's the most self-explanatory part of the song. There aren't any metaphors or analogies to help support its meaning; it's just a simple request, posing a simple question, with an unfortunate yet simple answer.
Which part was the hardest to come up with: Along with the chorus containing my favorite line, it also was the hardest part to write. Originally, we had an entirely different chorus which I absolutely despised. What we had come up with originally felt cheesy and it never quite managed to extract any kind of emotion in my opinion. I was almost certain that the song wasn't going to make the EP. However, during the EP's preproduction we were presenting ideas to [Erik Ron - Producer] and decided to show him what little we had for this song. Expressing concerns about the chorus we all decided to scrap the old one and write something entirely different. After a few hours of noodling chords, arguing, gun fights, deaths [Eddie Rosales, guitar], and resurrections (also Eddie), we managed to come up with a nice blueprint for a chorus. At this time I still only had a melody and would later write the lyrics within the next few days. Writing this song was a bit frustrating at times but, we're very happy with the outcome. Eddie also recovered from dying, so all is well.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be: This is a tough question to answer because I love the way the song turned out. I don't know if there is anything 'I' would want to change about the song, however I'm speaking for myself only. I'm almost positive if this question was asked to any other member of the band they would change ... something. Like, a different fill here or "I should have minored when I majored," I really don't know. As far as I'm concerned I'm fine with what was tracked. Very content.
Odd fact about song: It's not so much an "odd fact" but something I personally enjoy. We usually write songs that are a half-step down from standard tuning, yet this song was written a whole step down. Therefore, it creates a much more dramatic and heavier tone throughout the song. But, the reason why I enjoy this so much is because it requires our guitarists to switch guitars at a live show to adhere to the specific tuning. This subsequently inspired us to come up with a cool little transition between songs that help to mask the guitar switch; it's a nice little additive to our live show.
What was your inspiration for writing the song: All my life I've held this idea that if someone hurt me or anyone I loved, I would make sure that that person hurt twice as much. I was going to get back at them one way or another so that they know never to harm me or my loved ones ever again. It was an awful character flaw of mine that I knew needed to be addressed, but for one reason or another I ignored it all together. It wasn't until I faced instances where a person (or persons) I loved deeply became the one(s) doing the harming. How would I react to something like this? Would I learn from my previous encounters and forgive? Or would I abide by my usual self and react in a horrible manner? And in some cases I've unfortunately held true to my awful belief and retaliated. It's such a terrible feeling hurting someone out of revenge. I decided to confront my flaw and map out all of the things wrong with this idea of revenge. I wasn't happy with many of my actions and I wasn't happy with the person I was becoming. The music that we came up with inspired me to really look at myself in the mirror and tell myself, "I have to fix this or it's going to be the death of me."
When was your favorite time performing it live: We've only performed this song twice and I have to say that I loved when we performed it the first time. We had a show a month or two ago at The Roxy in Hollywood and since we had been recording, it was the first show we had played in a while. We had a wonderful crowd of about 200 people that came out to see and hear the new songs, so there was this great sense of anticipation. I was excited to finally present the new tunes to our crowd, but also a tiny bit nervous. It's always a weird feeling waiting to see the reaction of others once you put your hard work on display. "What Have You Done" was the final song of the set and I just remember not over thinking anything, I was so zoned into having fun on stage that I had forgotten that the song was new. The reaction of the crowd was very humbling. During the song I happened to notice a bunch of bobbing and nodding heads which is always a good sign. However, I have to admit, I was glad to get the first show playing these new songs out of the way. I look forward to playing this and the other new songs while on tour because I'm sure one of these upcoming dates will challenge for the top spot!
What is the meaning behind the song: Forgiveness is often times an overlooked action when it almost every time should be the first thing you look for. Revenge can cause you to do horrid things. It can drive you mad, and it can break you down into an empty and senseless fool. Revenge is very much like a drug because the immediate high a person gets from revenge is so shallow and short lived. And it always causes more harm than good. I want people to embrace forgiveness rather than to toss it aside. You'll be better of for it, trust me.